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Romancing the Cuss Word: I Swear to Christ, Bruce

November 10th, 2006 by Jeff Simmermon



Cassette Tape!

Originally uploaded by Sandy Phimester

I can’t tell if not cursing at work is a good or a bad idea. On the one hand, it keeps everybody civil. On the other hand, my forehead feels like a pregnant tick’s belly looks. Had I been able to step outside and send a purple RPG of filth towards the sky this afternoon, things might be a little different.

Cussing in general, I support wholeheartedly. I was always told as a kid that articulate people don’t use profanity to express themselves because they can think of other, better ways. As a grown professional writer, I can tell you that’s bullshit.

The English language only has a finite number of epithets, most of which only have four letters apart from my favorite, which has 12 and starts with “M”. The palette is limited but the possibilities are endless — kind of like haiku.

In college we all used to sit around and listen to this cassette of a guy named Bruce cussing with purple, passionate power.

Bruce was known throughout suburban New Jersey as the most amazing cusser that had ever lived — and this tape proved it. My buddy Ben had been high school buds with Bruce’s two sons, Ethan and Josh. Once, one of them hid a tape recorder in the garage while Bruce was fixing a piano without the proper tools — and the rest is comic legend.

I thought the tapes were lost forever, but the ever-astounding WFMU’s Beware of the Blog posted an MP3 of the legendary Bruce tapes the other day.

Click here to hear some of the finest cussing that Caucasian Americans are capable of. Note Bruce’s rhythm, how he builds and builds to climax, perfectly punctuating it with hammer blows, all while balancing between the profane and the comically G-rated.

When I hear this I think of sitting around on ratty thrift-store couches with my college friends, weeping with laughter. Now I know the rage that Bruce has felt a little better, and I am less laughing at him than I am thinking “Goshdarnit, Bruce, give that miserable piano what-for,” and daydreaming of the day I have own garage that will give me the space to rock back and bellow “PHOOEY” to rattle the rafters.

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